My favorite moment of this NBA season came last Thursday, with the Boston Celtics on the road against the Orlando Magic. Boston had already beaten Orlando (at home) that week, which was surprising enough even without the 31-point margin of victory. On Thursday, it looked like Orlando was all set to smack up Boston right back; at one point, the Magic held a 27-point lead. I was cool with it. I couldn’t possibly expect two wins against the big, bad Magic in one week, right? Especially with Rajon Rondo still sidelined with a wrist injury? And then, somehow, the wily underdogs scrapped back. Paul Pierce went off, the defense locked up, the breaks started coming. With just about eight minutes to go, the game was tied.
Marquis Daniels has the ball. He backs his man up, then swings it cross-court to E’Twaun Moore -- a rookie who is only in the game because of Rondo’s injury -- and he calmly drills a 3. Boston never trailed again.
I was glued to the television, with McCafé pumping caffeine through my bloodstream, for the first 38 games of the Australian Open semifinal match between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. But I wasn't emotionally invested in the slightest. The old adage, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me 22 times, shame on me" was in full effect, because this is, after all, Andy Murray we're talking about.
All week long, you’ve read articles written by homers to explain why their beloved college hoops team is going to win the 2011 NCAA championship. I’m going to go in a different direction. As an anti-homer (I believe I just coined that term), I’m going to explain why UConn will NOT repeat as champ this year. I wish I could base this assertion on some sabermetric-like analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. I wish I could tell you that I’ve studied game films and scouting reports, that I’ve measured verticals, and timed sprints, but I’ve done nothing of the sort. I’ve got something stronger on my side than statistics dislike. Pure, unadulterated dislike. Please know that I’m avoiding the word “hate” only because I reserve my hatred for truly important things: like Al-Qaeda and the Boston Red Sox.
Life is filled with nuance and compromise. Luckily, Kevin Wildes has sorted through it all for our feature, Winners and Losers.
I’m a Red Sox fan, and I was a little happy when they lost.
That shouldn’t make any sense. It only makes sense because deep down in a New Englander’s gut, right next to the pancreas, lies a fondness for losing.
It's not something I'm necessarily proud of, but I'll admit it is there. (Also in this category: My Dukakis tattoo.) I don’t know why it's there. Maybe it's nostalgia from when I was a kid and my favorite teams were horrible. Maybe it's because heartbreaking losses are the dips you need on the emotional log flume that makes sports fun. Maybe it’s a government implant.
Whatever the reason, when I sat down to write this blog post I thought: "Let me see what other New England-centric things I’m supposed to hate but I secretly love." So without further adieu …
Grim reality has asserted itself across the baseball landscape. Suspense, that subterranean creature who poked his curious head from the ground this summer, has resumed a long hibernation. We won't see him again until October.
The markets have been wild these days. The Dow has snapped violently back and forth. The share prices of first European banks, then U.S. banks, then just about everything else lurched around — so much for traders' summer vacations. CNBC's programming has at times resembled ESPN's, with talking heads crowding the screen. Replace the words "Ochocinco’s catches this season" with "the price of gold" and the analysis and speculation sounded pretty much exactly the same.
So it's really no surprise that in an environment in which it's getting harder to distinguish between stocks and sports, New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese is starting to sound like an embattled hedge fund manager.